In March 2014, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans who developed post-traumatic stress disorder during their military service and then received an other than honorable discharge.
The lawsuit was filed federal court by five Vietnam war veterans and three veterans’ organizations. It alleges that too many Vietnam veterans received less than honorable discharges for conduct that could be attributed to undiagnosed PTSD which was not an officially recognized medical diagnosis until the early 1980s. Those same soldiers would have been eligible for a medical discharge today, the lawsuit states.
Plaintiffs said they have been denied some veterans benefits and have faced stigmatization in the job market as a result of their discharge status.
The five plaintiffs include three Marine veterans and two Army veterans from five states — California, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana and New York. The three organizations that joined the lawsuit are: Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Vietnam Veterans of America Connecticut State Council (VVA-CT), and the National Veterans Council for Legal Redress (NVCLR).
The Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic, which represents four of the plaintiffs, held a news conference Monday. Joining them was U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
“Tens of thousands of brave and honorable Vietnam veterans with post-traumatic stress have been doubly injured by the black mark of an other than honorable discharge, resulting in unjustly denied support, services and benefits,” said Blumenthal, quoted in a Yale Law School news release. “These heroic veterans are long overdue present day appreciation of modern mental health in the timely review of their discharge upgrade appeals.”